Well corn harvest is over and if my fuzzy math is correct my whole farm average is right at 18 bushel/ac or so.  The two farms that I had hope to make a yield did but not near what was estimated.

Aflatoxin was mostly a non issue minus the best 12 acres where one load tested over 30.  It seems like the lower the yield the lower the aflatoxin and as the yield went up so did the aflatoxin.  I am still hearing some wild numbers on aflatoxin from some guys and some even have put some high numbers in a bin, why I don’t know, but they are trying to find a place to go with it I guess.  Maybe they didn’t have insurance or think that they can move it later a lot easier.  I don’t what any of it around to mess with so all mine is at the elevator.

The mood in the country is somewhat gray as everyone is mentally tired and ready for this stuff to be over.  Nerves are on edge in some places with low yields and the other stresses of a bad year.  Heard a story of a guy determined to get a semi load of corn the other day and he shelled all day even into the night and quit at 4am when he ran out of corn on that farm and still had not filled the semi.

Even bean harvest is going to be a bear with all the butter beans and green pods that a lot of fields have.  A lot of guys need a good break away from it all but it seems like it is piling on in some places.  Rain totals ranged from a few tenths to over 7 inches and those that got the big rains are even more grumpy as it has made a bad situation worse.

Wheat has already been planted and I think that is a big mistake with all the residual N that is out in these corn fields.  I even saw a field of volunteer corn that was waist high mid week.  It had grabbed the N left in the anhydrous track and was dark green.  Not good with warm temperatures and excessive amounts of N in the soil for young wheat.

We are in the discovery period for the fall harvest price option on crop insurance and everyone is hoping for a rally in prices.  One thing for sure we will be above the spring price unless there is a drastic sell off this month.



Got done harvesting wheat yesterday.  Yields were exceptional in one field and average in another.  In a normal year it would have been reversed but the good wheat ground ran out of water with the drought this year and the low or flat ground put on a show.

I have yet to plant a soybean…………….no moisture.

Well after two attempts in the middle of a drought, we got “rained out” of cutting wheat.  We got a “shower” of 0.07 that made the wheat jump up two points in moisture and made it cut tough. So everything is back in the barn waiting on the next rain event and what we will do…………..

A quick review of the rain totals collected by my weather stations show that in the month of April I have had 2.04 inches of rain here at HQ.  For May as of this morning, with a “significant rain event almost a guarantee” (statement by local weather guesser), we have had 0.21 inch of rain.  YTD its 9.67.

The big April rain total came mostly out of three big rains on the 4th, 13 and 16th.  Each rain was a total of 0.5 inch.

It will take a significant rain event to get the moisture to meet.

On news of my soybean crop, which is not planted, as in zero or none, I am still waiting for my seed production beans to get from South America to here.  Like it matters now, no moisture is no reason to plant.  I just about broke the blade on  my pocket knife trying to dig for moisture yesterday.  Plus the weeds are about to take the field for the third time. I am running out of options on what to spray to control the weeds……….

We are headed to the wheat field today.  Got ready yesterday and providing that everything works, we will cut wheat today.

Only have a whole 60 acres this year so with any luck, and its ready, we will get done today if not real close.

Keep your fingers crossed

I got done sidedressing the last two fields of corn with anhydrous today.  That means other than one last shot of post chemicals tomorrow, the corn crop is now on its own.

Now my focus shifts to wheat cutting which will happen next week………

And then I hope by the 8 of June (first it was the 1st of May then May 15 and then June 1) my parent seed will be here and I can start planting some soybeans.

In the meantime, we are bone dry, low humidity, windy and getting hot.  More like August weather than May.  The last real rain I had was about April 13.

Ready for a few days off……..

I took these pictures while sampling on a client of mine who has planted 15 inch row wheat.  The wheat looks great and I am excited to see and hear how it yields.  It would be great to be able to do away with a grain drill………..


Well I have 45 acres or so of anhydrous left to sidedress when the corn gets a little bigger.  Other than that it is sit back and wait on my seed beans.  Yep sitting and waiting on my parent seed.  Seems they are having a time clearing customs.

Wheat harvest is approaching fast.  I think it will cut about the first of June.  This will be the earliest wheat harvest I can ever imagine.  I need to start getting bins ready while it is still cool.

There are two distinct wheat crops growing in Southern Illinois this spring.  The distinction is in how they have been managed.

Those who have managed their wheat according to the weather and growth stage have some awesome looking wheat.  Plant development has been greatly accelerated due to the unusually warm weather we have had this winter and spring.  The result is that we are about a month ahead of schedule in some areas with where the wheat is in its life cycle.  Those fields have had their N applied earlier than normal and have had their weed control applied earlier as well.  The result is one of the best looking wheat crops ever in my opinion.

Those who have managed their wheat according to the calendar have wheat that is behind in its development and in some cases its health.  This wheat looks N deficient in most cases and is shorter.  In some instances we see tiller development aborted due to lack of N.  Nitrogen has been applied later and in some cases the weed control chemistry is just going on and with the hot temperatures for this time of year we see some cosmetic burn to the plant.  Worse yet some have combined their N and weed chemistry to save time and trips across the field.  Again we see some plant injury and loos of weed control.  This wheat crop looks average at best.

So which one is right?

Well with the lack of a late spring freeze appearing likely managing by plant development and going early could result in one of the best wheat crops in years.  Even better than last year.  If we were to get a late spring freeze, then that advanced crop is toast.  Then those who managed by the calendar will look like geniuses.  No matter what the later crop is going to be average at best but it will be a crop.

I guess we can let the cat out of the bag now and make the first of two major announcments that I alluded to earlier in January of some changes here on the farm.

Not only is this  a shed we are building, but it will also be a warehouse for Pioneer Seed.  Robertson Farms is now officially a Pioneer seed dealer.  We will be servicing farmers mostly in the western part of Franklin Co.  It is a natural fit for us.  We have enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Pioneer as a seed customer and seed grower, mainly because I have felt that their agronomy and sales staff have always had my success at heart when offering me products and services.  So when the opportunity presented itself last fall we began the process to become dealers for Pioneer.  We have a lot to learn but are eager and ready for the challenge!

The end of day 5 on the new shed…………….now we are ready for metal!  The nice sunny days have allowed for quick progress, but the bottom has fallen out of the ground around the site. We had to pull their forklifts and tellehandler out today.  The telehandler  was setting on the frame with the last truss suspended in the air………fun!



Meanwhile, while the last truss was going up, we spotted smoke accross the field and found that our neighbors old barn was on fire.  By the time we got over there the major part of the black smoke was gone but the flames were still going as high as the silo tops!

The old barn has been a land mark on Rt 14 east of Benton and the silos are also the site where the original farm owner killed himself back in the 40’s or 50’s…………more on that later………

Wow what a long week and it ain’t over yet!  This weekend is the fall version of the Knob Creek machine gun shoot and I am having withdrawals because farm activities have a priority over seeing things shot and blown up.   There is always YouTube but until they invent the scratch and sniff YouTube, its not the same!

Last Friday I finished up planting wheat.  I wanted to no till the wheat into the corn stalks but it was just too tough to do so.  Ended up disking the stalks once and then rolling them with the crumbler before drilling.  Worked pretty good and I can row the wheat out the window of the house this morning.  It was dusty, not as bad as last year but dusty, and that is a good sign to plant wheat into.

Corn harvest resumed and I hit some of the June replant corn and as I suspected it sucked.  The replant corn is making about 70 bu less an acre than the May planted corn.  My average is taking a big hit right now but we will see where we end up.  50 acres of corn left, not enough bin space to hold it all and I still have a few contracts to fill so it will be a balancing act between hauling it and filling the bins.

Over the weekend we went to the Marion Appleseed shoot and Matthew and Lori greatly improved their scores.  Matthew came from double digits to well into the triple digits while Lori is knocking on the Rifleman score.  She shot into the 200’s several times just missing Rifleman by a few points each time.  I need to do some tuning to her rifle, she is getting a bunch of stovepipe jams that I feel kept her from making Rifleman.  Then we will practice for the November shoot and see what she can do then!

As far as repairs go, the Cat is up on blocks and one track is off along with all the other hardware and I am ready to go back together with it.  Need to get this done ASAP as I have dirt work that needs to be done in preparation for a new shed to be built.  We got the grain bin fan back from Sander Electric and it needs to be re-installed so we can pump some air through some of this corn.  Aeration is important!

And in case I didn’t say it somewhere else in this post:  I AM MISSING KNOB CREEK  (crying and gnashing of teeth)

Wheat is planted and back to shelling corn.  Got lots of pictures and things to hang up when it rains.  But for now its very light posting.  Check back often or after a rain for updates.

Got done with the long rows………..GOOD CORN!

We are about 35% done with corn, 0% on soybeans…but the soys have just started to turn yellow.

Now we take a short pause to plant wheat and then back to the corn.

Here I am chasing Matthew with the grain cart about half way across the long rows.

A quick update this morning, on the run this week.

Took this picture of my oldest and favorite son shelling corn on Saturday.  He just loves running the combine but loves being annoyed by his Daddy even more!

Corn yields continue to be good for us but we know there is the June replanted stuff to get yet.  That being said if it doesn’t tank to bad we could have a just below average crop.  Still a week or so away from trying it though, to many things to do yet on other fronts.

Harvested the second N plot and this one is significant in its results.  The 100# rate yielded 171 bu/ac and stair stepped up to the 200 # rate making 194bu/ac.  Looks like the optimum rate is about 170 or so (without doing the math) with puts it right in line with our previous plot results on this field of 165 #/N or so.  Will post more results when there is time.

Larry Cooper with Opticrop came and calibrated the wheat drill so as soon as I get a few repairs made to it and the gauge wheels back on we can drill wheat.  Or after I get the repairs made and get the fields sprayed I can plant wheat.  That is one of the jobs to day is to get the chemical to spray I hope in the next day or so.

Also I have to pull a bin fan today and take it to the shop, its pulling way to many amps on start up and causing problems………plus the Cat is still sitting in the shop with one track off waiting on seals and tracks….. and we had to put a new bearing in the unload auger……..and there is more but there isn’t space or time to list them all.

It goes without saying that if you farm, you know……..about repairs.

The local Corps or Engineers/Conservancy district had their cash rent bid process for their farm land around Rend Lake here recently.  The winner got it all at well over $200 an acre.  That doesn’t sound like much compared to other places in the world but for around here and with the constraints of the contract, that’s a bunch.  One 120 acre tract rented to the same fellows for $250.  I have to say this because i just cant hold it in, but that is STUPID.  Now the rumor is that their other cash rent landlords are asking around about higher rents or a new farmer.

I don’t think they won much when it is all said and done.

Corn is drying down slowly but is making its way to “the new dry” or 17%.  Some shelling is taking place just to get crops off in places.  Wheat planting is right behind the corn for most but acres will be down in this area.

The list of repairs is getting shorter around here, just days away from having the power back on at the shed, the wheat drill is a day away from being ready and the cat is up on blocks with one track off awaiting seals before we get the new tracks on it.

Some days things just move very slowly it seems………

Well it rained all day yesterday.  We ended up with 1.41 inches in the gauge and it was greatly appreciated.  It will help the double crop soybeans and it helped settle the dust.  Cool weather followed the rain in and you need a sweatshirt this morning outside.

Some general observations this morning as we hit the middle of September.  Corn harvest has started for about 80% of the farmers in the area but it is not a sprint this year but more of a walk-a-thon.  Very casual.  I think this has to do with lower yields and areas of higher moisture due to replants.  I have yet to see the roads loaded up with trucks but I know it is coming.

Fertilizer prices keep going up and as more corn is shelled the amount of P and K that is going to get spread keeps going down.  After a big hurry to get tonnage for prepay lots of folks are just not going to spread that much fertilizer this fall it seems.

Wheat acres are down it would appear. I say that now but know that a quick bump in the price will bring out more seed and more planting pretty fast.  Corn prices have everyone looking to Dec 12 and not July 12.  That being said there is also a lot of PP acres of DC Beans that will not get wheat planted back on it.

And last but not least……….the economy and the lack of direction and leadership out of Washington DC is weighting heavy on a lot of folks.  Enough bad news beats down on everyone.  Even in the Ag community where things are bright from a $ standpoint.  This country needs a warm fuzzy reason to have hope and I fear we are not going to get more than a cold slimy from Washington for a while to come.

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